For Brandon Flynn, some of the topics and issues that the characters in 13 Reasons Why dealt with hit a little too close to home. The actor, who plays Justin Foley on the show, opened up in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter about his own troubles with bullying and substance abuse that he dealt with in high school, and it is so heartbreaking.
“When I was in middle school, I dealt a lot with people not being cool with me being into acting. They [kids] thought it was feminine. They thought I should be in sports. I was chunky, so I got made fun of for that. It was hard. It put me in a dark space of not wanting to be myself and trying to be what others wanted me to be,” he revealed.
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He said this kind of treatment led him to seek ways to make himself better or to feel less pain. He said, "I self-medicated a lot; I did a lot of drugs and I chose to quiet my truth and alter my perception to make it easier to be comfortable."
"Jessica is the character I relate to the most. The way she dealt with her attack was similar to the way I dealt with things in high school. I numbed myself constantly and ignored the truth of certain things," he said about Jessica who starts drinking heavily and engaging in harmful behavior after her attack.
"It's a form of self-harm to try and not be yourself and not live your truth. This show has made me look at the world and my relationships and try to be kind and have an open heart to people because you truly never know what's going on in people's lives," he said.
There is an ongoing conversation since the show released about whether or not the show should be viewed by children and now parents and schools are debating whether young people should be watching it at all, but Brandon says this is exactly why the show is needed.
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"Many kids don't know how to turn to their parents because their parents don't offer that outlet. They don't know how to turn to their school because their school doesn't offer that outlet, so they get stuck and feel like everyone and everything is against them. I sure as shit remember feeling that way at that age."
While some scenes in the show could be triggering for people who have survived difficult situations as the ones on the show, perhaps some people watching can find comfort in having someone share similar stories than the ones they have experienced and it will make them feel less alone in the world.
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We are glad Brandon has opened up about this time in his life and that he has been able to overcome this.
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